Your First Coaching – 5 Facts Checklist (2024)

Life coaching is the modern day answer to traditional wise men and women in families or tribes who help people develop their own inner wisdom to overcome challenges inevitably arising in life.

Thomas Leonard, an American financial planner, is generally acknowledged as the first person to develop coaching as a profession in the 1980s and the history of coaching today really starts with him.

First Coaching
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#1 First Coaching Call

The process of getting to know each other begins during your initial contact. This is when people make the decision if you’re each a good fit. 

It will include:

  • Evaluating the challenge 
  • Exploring the challenge
  • Setting a goal for the session 
  • Uncovering internal patterns 
  • On track check 
  • Changing old unhelpful patterns 
  • Anchoring Changes 
  • Evaluating Session 

The coach has a lot to offer in the way of:

  • Profound knowledge about subconscious patterns and how to bring them from the unconscious to the conscious.
  • Many ideas and a toolbox of processes to create change.

However, the coaching client innately knows what they need and is the authority on their own life. 

So always take the time to guide the clients to check in with their inner wisdom to see if the coaching process feels true for them.

#2 Pre-Coaching Conversation

People will contact you to determine if they can work with you, if you have enough free time to work with them, and if your qualifications suit their needs. Once all their boxes are checked they may book at time to meet with you.

  1. To understand more about the potential client.

This conversation is about understanding where the person has come from, where they are now, and where they want to go in their life.

This is the time to understand what they need. What are their desires, dreams, strengths, capabilities, resources, fears, motivations, challenges, and barriers to moving forward.

  1. To establish whether coaching is right for this client.

Learning what their aspirations, desires, and goals are and how they believe coaching will help them is the initial step in knowing whether the coach can actually help.

People are most benefited if they are really ready to move forward and embrace the personal awareness that will create change.

  1. To discover if you are the best fit for them.

The pre-coaching conversation is best done with an open mind leaving the ego behind. 

A coach who really wants to help people can do this best by knowing their own strengths and whether a client is better suited to another professional who has more potential to align to the client’s needs.

  1. To establish and test rapport between you.

Great rapport starts right at the beginning of the conversation.

If it’s not there at the onset, the coaching experience may not be a comfortable and productive relationship.

#3 Pre-Coaching Questionnaire

A pre-coaching questionnaire can be completed by the client (or coachee) after a pre-coaching call.

Once it’s established the person is prepared for change, this can help the coach learn about the client in regards to their desires and goals.

More specifically you may use a questionnaire to:

  • find out information from the person about themselves, their goals, values, fears, strengths, resources, and aspirations
  • understand more specifically what they are looking for from the coaching process
  • understand what they want from you
  • raise the person’s self awareness about all of the above
First Coaching Call
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Sample Questions For Pre-Coaching Questionnaire

  1. What are the 3 biggest changes you want to make in your life over the next 5 years?
  2. What 3 goals do you want to achieve within the next 3 months?
  3. If anything was possible, what would your biggest dream be?
  4. What have been your 3 greatest successes to date?
  5. What has been the greatest challenge you’ve overcome?
  6. What major changes have you been faced with over the last couple of years?
  7. What is most important to you in your life and why?
  8. Who are the most important supports to you in your life – what do they provide you with?
  9. Is your life one of your choosing? If not, who is choosing it for you?
  10. On a scale of 1 -10 how happy are you with your life right now? Any stressors?
  11. On a scale of 1-10 how motivated are you in your work/personal life? What motivates you?
  12. What area of your life would you like your coach to help you with?
  13. How will you know when you are receiving value from the coaching sessions?
  14. What approaches motivate /demotivate you?

#4 Initial Coaching Questions

These are 9 very powerful questions to ask clients during their initial coaching session:

  1. What would you like to see as the outcome of this session?

This keeps clients and coaches, both, on track and clear that clients receive the benefits they’re looking for.

  1. If you could change one thing right now, what would it be?

This helps clients to focus or move out of overwhelm when they’re not sure of what they want.

  1. How will you know you’ve reached your goal?

A lack of clarity can be one reason people don’t reach their goals. This question helps to clarify and get specific in order to take action, see progress, and feel great about themselves.

  1. What’s standing in your way?

Naming the hurdle helps you know what the problem is and overcoming it then seems easier. Within the coaching dialogue you may realize it’s not really a barrier after all, and find ways around it.

  1. Can you tell me more?

This is a simple, yet very powerful follow up question. It signals your interest in their story and gives them the space to expand on details, or feelings so far unexpressed.

  1. How are you benefitting if you don’t take this step leading to your goal?

This gets to the core of the hesitation the client feels about their challenge. It can be scary to get out of our comfort zone. Very often we don’t realize this is an underlying benefit to not achieving what we say we want.

  1. What does success look like?

As adults we forget to daydream. This question gets the client to visualize their ideal situation and begins an exploration with passion. This is the beginning in creating the path they desire.

  1. When have you overcome something similar in the past?

We can forget that we have what it takes inside us. This shows the client they can reach their goal because they’ve done something similar before.

  1. So what?

This can help a client who’s stuck on something emotionally and to realize what they thought was a huge obstacle really isn’t that big after all.

#5 What Should I Expect From A First Coaching Session?

Living in a state of inspiration, every decision and every action we take supports our greater good and helps us reach our full potential in any area of life.

Role Of The Coach

  • Develop a comfortable rapport to build trust so the person feels free to be open with you.
  • Listen carefully to the client’s words, note body language and facial expressions.
  • Direct the client using open and closed ended, thought provoking questions.
  • Allow the client’s wisdom to surface and guide the session.
  • Give healthy feedback to direct your client to keep on track towards their goals.
  • Raise client’s self-confidence and self-belief for empowered action.
  • Guide the client toward perspective shifts improving the way they think about their circumstances, to manage their emotions and become more resilient.
  • Provide practical tools, strategies and techniques so the client can be resourceful during challenging times.
  • Provide encouragement and emotional support.
  • Check in with the client to know that they’re receiving value and staying on track with goals during the session.
Initial Coaching
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Role Of The Client

  • Talk openly and honestly about feelings, thoughts, life, and circumstances to receive the most value from the session.
  • Work with the coach exploring problems and circumstances from various different perspectives.
  • Be open minded and free to explore possible solutions they may not have thought of that might help them overcome their problems.
  • Be ready to feel uncomfortable in the face of change.

First Coaching Session Template

If you would like to get some help when you book your first coaching client, or if you’ve had a history coaching people, the First Coaching Session Template can be helpful.

It takes time and effort to make the connection when you get a person to work with, however, the rewards are very satisfying to know you’ll make a difference in someone’s experience. 

When they realize that they can get benefits that they need to improve their situation, it’s all worth it.

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.